The highly-anticipated return of lightweight fighter Conor McGregor (21-3) to the Octagon against an undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) isn’t the only reason to watch UFC 229.
Stony Brook University graduate Dominick Reyes (9-0) is fighting on the main card against Ovince Saint Preux (22-11).
Reyes, before he was known as The Devastator, played college football for the Seawolves, where he was the starting safety from 2009 to 2012.
In that time, the Hesperia, Calif. native graduated as the school’s all-time leader in solo tackles, which garnered interest from NFL teams.
After no one came calling in the 2013 NFL Draft, Reyes shifted his focus to deliver a different type of hit.
“Football helped me become more athletic,” said Reyes. “It taught me how to train smarter, how to really break down an opponent and get the most out of preparation.”
After returning home from college, Reyes began training at his brother Alexander’s MMA gym in Victorville, Calif., according to Newsday.
In about a year, the light heavyweight earned a pro debut. He hasn’t looked back since.
Reyes, now ranked No. 12 in his division, is facing a well-versed opponent in No. 7 Saint Preux, who is 35 years old.
However, the 28-year-old Reyes has gotten rave reviews for his fighting style, ending 8-of-9 fights in the first round.
“This is definitely a major fight for Reyes, who has the chance to prove himself a contender at this very moment, rather than in another three fights or couple years,” writes SB Nation. “He’s been climbing the ranks very quickly and looking absolutely violent — the type of prospect UFC would love to see join the Top 10.”
UFC 229, held in Las Vegas, is on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The event begins at 10 p.m. and will be available on pay-per-view. You can order the fight here.